This originally appeared as a diatribe I posted on my Facebook page in the wake of the UCC shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. Having worked in higher education in Oregon prior to moving to Seattle, the news out of UCC was personally very poignant. I realized that one of the things that kept dogging me, impelling me to speak up during the teachers strike was this issue that teachers are increasingly on the front lines of mass shootings.
I got a little soap-box-y earlier this month during the Seattle teachers’s strike. Here’s why.
The day of the Newtown shootings, my oldest was a kindergartener. And there has not been a damn day since then when I’ve had to drop off a kid at school or daycare without the thought that THIS teacher, this underpaid person, cares enough. Cares enough to do untold thousands of things to ensure that my child develops, grows, and reaches her potential. But also cares enough that I’ve never had a doubt that any one of them would have done everything he or she could to put him or herself between my child and a mass shooter.
I just want you to think on that for a second. That person who cannot afford median rent in Seattle on teacher’s pay. That person who gets the state medicaid program sign up information in their hiring packet because if they are supporting a family they’d qualify?
That person. We’ve set up a society so that THAT person has to be ready to respond to some nutbar armed to the teeth hell-bent on taking a score of six year olds with him to the afterlife?
It’s distracting, frankly. I’m trying to sit with the idea that I need to learn the new math curriculum and figure out how to help with writing homework without going out of my gourd and all I can think about is that we’re paying you peanuts to someday have to shove a clutch of little kids into a broom closet and fend off an active shooter with a bunch of school supplies that parents provided?
Aw hell to the no.